Review: 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van

Posted by CapnRex101, 13 Jul 2021 16:30

51308441754 c8f1ebb2b9 nView image at Flickr

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10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van was released during 2011, introducing the appealing selection of larger-scale vehicles which remains successful today. However, the surprising endurance of the Camper Van distinguishes the model, which was available for almost ten years!

10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van succeeds the classic T1 design, exploiting modern elements and construction techniques which have been developed since 2011. The resultant model looks marvellous, benefiting particularly from the enhanced selection of curved slopes and integrating substantially more interesting functions.

Box and Contents

The packaging for 18+ products remains consistent, displaying this vehicle against the typical black background. Such designs are periodically successful, although the vibrant VW Camper Van would probably benefit from equally colourful packaging. However, I appreciate the stylish graphic beside the model, clearly identifying the renowned T2 Camper Van.

Opening the box reveals twenty bags, which are numbered between one and eleven. Another bag contains the windscreen and tyres, hopefully reducing the chance of scratches across the windscreen component. One instruction manual is also provided, containing 332 pages. These pages include information about the Volkswagen T2 Camper Van and the extraordinary culture surrounding this vehicle.

However, the most interesting sections encompass LEGO’s history with Volkswagen and brief commentary from the set designer, Sven Franic. Sven discusses his familiarity with the classic Volkswagen Camper Van family and actually own this vehicle, which should undoubtedly prove advantageous when developing its LEGO counterpart. The designer’s van appears with 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van in multiple official images!

10295 Porsche 911 contained no stickers, hence I was somewhat disappointed to encounter seventeen necessary stickers here. These are easily applied, but greater consistency across this series would be appreciated. Another sticker sheet is also provided to customise this van, featuring varied designs which perfectly evoke the period most associated with these popular vehicles.

Construction

While certain aspects of large-scale vehicles have changed dramatically since 2011, when the collection was introduced, others have remained fairly consistent. The incorporation of Technic elements throughout the chassis is inevitably repeated, although such structures have become more elaborate. For example, the chassis under 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van combined just six 1×14 Technic bricks, with two axles running between them!

The modern equivalent retains some Technic bricks, although the forward wheels require their own steering mechanism. Furthermore, the chassis is noticeably more integrated with the floor and bodywork structure, strengthening this entire model. These assembly techniques resemble other recent cars, such as 10295 Porsche 911, but the overwhelming abundance of brackets is decidedly unusual.

However, their purpose quickly becomes apparent as further Technic assemblies are mounted on each side. This model is inherently hollow, contrasting with comparable vehicles, which has necessitated Technic reinforcement inside the walls. Of course, 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van encountered the same challenge but included no reinforcement, instead combining simple stacked bricks.

Each window is installed between the Technic supports, with layered plates stretching towards the front. Such strength is absolutely required because these windows are considerably bigger than those on the T1 Camper Van, hence they cannot rely upon the same construction method. Securing the bodywork also commences at this stage, where various slopes and tiles surround the windows.

The aforementioned Technic structure remains comparatively exposed until fixing the internal furnishings, matching the original vehicle in that regard. The whole kitchen area is assembled sideways and connected using stacked bricks with studs on the side, hence exceptionally few studs remain visible upon completion. Moreover, the seats are similarly constructed sideways and resemble those from 10295 Porsche 911.

After finishing the interior, attention returns to the bodywork. The colourful elements inside are completely covered by medium azure tiles, slopes and curved slopes, again leaving extremely few exposed studs. Unfortunately, the decorated air intake positioned behind the windows was partially damaged on my model, arriving with serious scratches. Hopefully the issue is isolated.

10265 Ford Mustang introduced steering to these large-scale vehicles and that mechanism is situated underneath the cab here. The structure in front of this mechanism slots neatly around the steering knuckles and its design is unique to accommodate the steering configuration. This section of construction also includes the sliding door, which corresponds with the neighbouring bodywork in building method and appearance.

The elaborate Technic assembly beneath the extendable roof comprises two linked sections. One slides between the walls of the Camper Van while another connects under the roof. The function seems relatively simple, but the mechanism requires remarkable complexity to avoid opening too far and integrates a great locking system which is subsequently hidden behind a fabric component.

Each wheel is attached using Technic elements, including the new pin and 2L axle with lower friction than its black equivalent. Several additional tiles are positioned above the rear wheels, accurately recreating the overhanging bodywork which is present on original T2 Camper Vans. Some accessories are then assembled to complement the vehicle, including a surfboard which combines 1x1x1 2/3 bricks with studs on the side through its core.

The Completed Model

LEGO large-scale vehicles have become increasingly accurate during recent years, benefiting from the growing selection of curved slopes and similar pieces which are particularly important when constructing vehicles. 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van certainly makes superb use of those elements, especially across the front and along the flanks where the bodywork gradually tapers inwards.

Furthermore, the vibrant colour combination of white and medium azure looks great. Not only does that contrast beside past Creator Expert and 18+ vehicles, which is advantageous when displaying them together, but medium azure replicates the lovely ‘pastel blue’ bodywork shade that was available for the T2 Camper Van. Of course, the vehicle also comprises various parts which are newly appearing in this colour.

Comparing this model with 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van reveals numerous differences, the most surprising of which is perhaps their sizes. The new version measures 34cm in length, comfortably surpassing the previous example that measures nearly 28cm long. This difference somewhat reflects reality as the T2 Camper Van is bigger than its T1 counterpart, although the extent of that variation is much too dramatic.

Beyond their respective sizes, the most conspicuous variation between the T1 and T2 designs appears at the front. The famous two-tone colours are replaced with blockier colour bands and an auxiliary tyre. This configuration corresponds with the original vehicle, although anyone with only modest awareness of Volkswagen Camper Vans may be disappointed, since the two-tone colour arrangement remains more recognisable.

Nevertheless, the rounded headlights, bumper and spare tyre seem accurate when compared with the source material. The distinctive twin grilles appear similarly appealing, while American and German number plates are supplied. They feature stickers which is surprising since 10295 Porsche 911 contained printed pieces, although the designs remain impressively authentic.

Steering has been introduced relatively recently, among these models. The mechanisms have consistently been connected to the steering wheel and that convention remains here, although the spare tyre now provides another means of control. In addition, the inclusion of an exclusive windscreen component significantly improves this model, loosely resembling the example from 10274 Ghostbusters ECTO-1.

This steering wheel returns from 10274 Ghostbusters ECTO-1 and is situated above the tyres, which is unusual among these large-scale vehicles with steering. Moreover, this updated door mechanism removes any need for exposed hinges, instead including Technic 3L beams which secure the doors inside. The design is exceptionally basic and feels less secure than standard hinges, but the resulting appearance seems excellent.

While both door mechanisms are inconspicuous, the interior remains apparently unfinished in other areas. For instance, numerous colourful elements are present beside the steering wheel, even though covering these pieces would have been simple. Their exposure is therefore rather disappointing, especially since lavish detail appears elsewhere inside the Camper Van.

Accessing the interior is relatively difficult because the roof is not designed for quick removal here. The dark orange and tan upholstery on the seats looks tremendous though, flanking an articulated gearstick. However, additional controls would have improved this design, including the distinctive handbrake lever which should be located above the gearstick.

Numerous interesting features distinguished 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, including its fabric curtains. Similar curtains are present on this occasion, although they are attached using an alternative method, secured between 1×1 round tiles with shafts and 1×3 inverted tiles. This design looks reasonable, despite the curtains’ bothersome tendency to curve inwards slightly.

The stickers situated across the exterior appear relatively subtle, recreating minor details from the original camper. Unfortunately, the colour matching between the medium azure pieces and these stickers leaves much to be desired. I find this continuing problem frustrating because the colour of the stickers could easily be adjusted for better matching. I would recommend omitting this fuel cap sticker altogether.

Unlike the T1 Camper Van, this vehicle integrates an ingenious sliding door on the passenger side. The light bluish grey handle appears realistic, but is insufficiently strong to open the door. Instead, pressing a button beside the rear wheel causes this door to move outwards, providing an easy method for opening the sliding door and accessing the interior.

Furthermore, I am impressed by the authenticity of this opening mechanism, with grooves on the inside which the door slides along. Another sliding section is situated behind the door and ensures additional stability. This remains noticeable when the door is closed, as shown above, but I appreciate such efforts to capture original features from the Volkswagen T2 Camper Van.

The roof can also be removed, providing an impressive view of the interior. Outstanding detail continues inside the living quarters, greatly improving upon the cab which appears quite bland by comparison. One obvious problem does return though as another bright blue piece remains exposed. Such issues are disappointing because these elements could be swapped with more appropriate colours, or concealed.

Despite the restricted space, this kitchen contains numerous important features which appear authentic. These include the rudimentary stove with a removable gas bottle underneath. I love the sand green kettle and the neighbouring flame also looks splendid, although trans-light blue would have been more accurate than this trans-orange component.

Another opening cupboard door reveals the fridge, which features various bottles and cartons alongside a banana. Both cupboards are neatly designed, although an unsightly gap emerges between them to accommodate their hinges. However, the sink and folding table look fantastic, each making clever use of existing elements. This medium nougat 4×4 tile with curved corners seems particularly effective, returning from Super Mario.

Dark orange and tan upholstery returns on the rear seat, corresponding with those inside the cab. The texture looks appealing here and I like the worktop which continues beside this seat, including a red cup that should probably be stowed when driving! Storage space is somewhat lacking though, deviating from the source material where cupboard are concealed throughout the whole vehicle.

The space beneath the seat seems perfect for storage, although that is instead needed when transforming the seat into a bed. This function works beautifully, but no bedding is included so the furnishing appears relatively bland. Two brick-built pillows would have been adequate here and I am sure storage space could have been found for such accessories, if necessary.

10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van incorporated an ingenious pop-up roof section, recreating an important feature from the famous van. The new model includes a similar function as lifting the roof panel reveals an orange fabric component underneath. Several variants of the pop-up roof were produced in reality and this example seems accordingly realistic, although there is a noticeable gap between the roof and the fabric towards the front.

Studs are remarkably uncommon throughout this model, hence the inclusion of twelve visible studs across the reverse appears unusual. Nevertheless, I think this design looks brilliant and the shaping here closely resembles the T2 Camper Van, particularly around both flanks where decorated cooling vents are included. Despite an unfortunate printing error on my model, they achieve pleasing accuracy.

The rounded trans-orange and trans-red rear lights also correspond with the source material, flanking the accessible engine bay and another number plate. In addition, the curved bumper appears authentic and I love the pearl silver 1×1 round plates which create handles. However, another instance of poor colour matching between stickers and surrounding pieces is present.

Fortunately, the functionality suffers from no such problems as every door opens smoothly for viewing inside. Generous space is available above the engine bay, which could accommodate various accessories. However, this is required for the bed transformation instead, hence I think the aforementioned pillows could have been positioned here for storage.

Among the numerous impressive aspects of 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, the engine stood out in particular. This example also includes several recognisable details, such as twin mountings for the fan belt and the distributor. However, previous designs have demonstrated that including cables and functional fan belts is possible. Such features are missing from this engine though.

Customisable roof storage was an integral feature of many Volkswagen Camper Vans, hence this model provides space for two folding chairs above the cab. They are not connected using any studs, instead nestling perfectly inside a recessed panel. The arrangement looks effective, particularly because these bright red chairs contrast against the surrounding roof.

Both chairs are decorated with attractive stickers and their unfolding function is brilliant, albeit deceptively simple! The rear support slides perfectly between both back supports when folded and provides sufficient stability when unfolded, as demonstrated below. Moreover, the contrast between red and tan components seems excellent here, creating the appearance of fabric and wood.

An appealing surfboard accompanies the vehicle too, featuring a beautiful colour combination and accurate shaping. This is certainly a welcome addition to the model, although I was rather disappointed to find no dedicated storage solution for the surfboard. While there is room inside, an assigned roof rack should undoubtedly have been supplied to secure the surfboard.

Overall

Inevitable comparisons will be drawn between 10279 Volkswagen T2 Camper Van and 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van. That might prove challenging because the T1 design is probably more famous than its successor, although I think their relative accuracy is approximately equal because both models succeed in certain areas while significant compromises are necessary in others.

However, the functions have certainly been enhanced, particularly with the addition of steering and an enjoyable sliding door. The internal detailing is outstanding too, exceeding the previous model in my opinion. The price of £149.99 or $179.99 does feel unusually expensive within this continuing large-scale vehicles collection, although that cost is reflected in its considerable size and detail.

This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review represents an expression of my own opinions.

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